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Guest talk

Prof. em. Dr. Arthur Cropley

(University of Hamburg, Germany)

Creativity in Engineering

A technology-oriented aesthetics of creativity

In the past 2000-3000 years, creativity has been equated with sensitivity and aesthete. After the "Sputnik crisis" in 1957 however there was a call for creative engineers that were to design and build new machines for solving human problems. Even though the term creativity today is not limited to the fine arts any more, there are major differences between the purely aesthetic and a technology-oriented understanding of creativity. A failed artwork for example can still be praised as highly creative attempt to conquer borders. Should an engineer however build a bridge that collapses, it is a catastrophe or even a crime. In the technological sciences thus, creativity is – beyond creating something new – bound to create concrete, true-to-life and practically relevant products. But how do we see creativity in such products? How can we determine the degree of creativity of a technological product in a systematic and stringent way? And how can we compare products – even from different fields – regarding the involved creativity and explain their strengths and weaknesses to students? For doing so, you need a technology-oriented aesthetics of creativity. Such an aesthetic will – of course – be characterised by newness. But it goes beyond that and encompasses relevance, usefulness, elegance and genesis.

Arthur Cropley was born in South Australia in 1935. He studied educational sciences and psychology at the University of Adelaide and – after 4 years of school service and 5 years in Australian military service – he gained his doctorate in 1965 at the University of Alberta (Canada). After that he was active at the University of Regina (Canada) and the University of Hamburg. Since he has been an emeritus professor (1998) he was visiting professor (1 semester/year) at the University of Latvia in the framework of the Johann Gottfried Herder programme.

He wrote 27 books that have been published in many languages (amongst them: Hungarian, Latvian, Chinese and Korean) and app. 200 other publications. His research focus is creativity, with a focus on non-traditional fields like sports, ergo therapy, criminality, and technological sciences. This focus has sensitized him for a cross-departmental understanding of creativity. Together with his son, David Cropley – who is Prof. of Engineering at the University of South Australia, he is grappling with this topic intensely; particularly with regard to the educational system.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 1.30–3.00 p.m. | Vogelpothsweg 78 (CDI building), room 114
Center for Higher Education (zhb)
Professorship of Higher Education

Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.


TU Dort­mund University has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 15 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".


The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.


The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the uni­ver­si­ty campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the uni­ver­si­ty station.


Interactive map

The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

Campus Lageplan Zum Lageplan